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    Shrila Uddharana Datta Thakur

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    Shrila Uddharana Datta ThakurUddharana Datta Thakur, a dvadasa gopala, lived in Saptagrama, a cluster of seven villges (Krishnapura, Nityanandapura, Vasudevapura, Sivapura, Bansabediya, Sahanagara, Saptagrama.). Raised in luxury within a family of gold merchants, he later married and worked as a wealthy state minister. The place where he once held office is today called Uddharanapura in his honor.

    Lord Nityananda would often stay in his home and accept food from his hand. Performing prema nama sankirtana in Saptagrama, Lord Nityananda delivered the entire community of bankers and gold merchants. Udhharana Datta said that Saptagrama is such a holy place that simply by seeing it one is freed from all sins. When he was twenty-six years old his wife suddenly died. He left everything to associate with Sri Nityananda Prabhu and preach the glories of Krishna's holy names.

    He personally installed and' worshiped Deities of Sad-bhuja Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara Pandit. He serves Lord Balarama as Subahu sakha in Vraja lila. His samadhi is in the 64 Samadhis Area.

    After glorifying Uddharana Datta Thakura as, "an exalted devotee of Lord Nityarianda who worshiped Him in all ways,"Krishna Dasa Kaviraja praises all of' Sri Nityananda Prabhu's devotees: "No one can count the unlimited followers of Nityananda Prabhu. I have mentioned some of them simply for my own purification. As branches of Lord Nityananda's tree, these eternal associates are full of the ripened fruits of Krishna prema. They gave these fruits to everyone, flooding them with pure love of God. These devotees have unlimited strength to give eternal unalloyed love of Krishna. They can offer anyone Krishna prema.


    "Uddharana Datta was the best of the Bhagavatas, who served Nityananda's lotus feet in every way possible."
    Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.41

    Whenever the Supreme Divinity, Nandanandan Sri Krishna, adopts the devotional mood and bodily luster of Srimati Radharani in order to become Sri Krishna Chaitanya, He is always accompanied by His eternal associates, who join Him in order to enrich His pastimes. Thus, Krishna's primary expansion or prakasa, Baladev, accepts the attitude of a devotee as Sri Nityananda Prabhu, appearing in Ekachakra village in order to embellish Mahaprabhu's lila. He too has his entourage of personal confidantes who descend to this earth to assist him in playing his role. Nityananda is Baladeva Tattva: he is none other than Lord Sesa, the source of three purusavataras, Maha Sankarshan's causal form or mula Sankarshan. His chief companions are known as the Dvadasa-gopalas or twelve cowherds. Thus it is stated in the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (129):

    subahur yo vraje gopo data uddharanakhyakah
    "The Cowherd Named Subahu Became Uddharan."

    Uddharana Datta Thakur is thus one of the Twelve Gopals. In order to assist Nityananda in his incarnation, he took birth in the town of Saptagram in the year 1481 AD. Saptagram is in Hooghly district, near the Trishbigha railway station. His parents were named Srikara nd Bhadravati and they belonged to the gold merchant class. Any caste in which a Vaishnava appears is to be considered holy - the earth itself is blessed by the appearance of a Vaishnava - and his or her mother has achieved the perfection of motherhood. Vrindavan Das has thus written:
    Nityananda remained a few days in Khardaha and then went on to Saptagram with his troupe of associates. They stayed at the home of the fortunate Uddharana Datta on the banks of the Triveni. Completely surrendered to the feet of Nityananda Prabhu, Uddharana Datta worshipped him without any false pretense… The entire caste of gold merchants was purified by the presence of Uddharana Datta in its midst, of this there can be no doubt. Chaitanya Bhagavata 3.5.443,449-50, 453

    Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur has particularly given extensive glorifications of Nityananda Prabhu. The sinful and offensive living beings of this world have no alternative but the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu if they want to be delivered. Even though Nityananda is Bhagavat-tattva, he behaves as a devotee. All of his associates are expansions of his mercy. Nityananda Prabhu is said to be the deliverer of the most fallen; his companions seek out even more fallen souls to deliver. In fact, Nityananda distributes his mercy to the conditioned souls through his devotees.

    As one of Nityananda's closest confidantes, Uddharan Datta Thakur is called parama-parama-patita-pavana, "the deliverer of the most fallen amongst the most fallen." Thus any jiva who takes shelter of Uddharan Datta Thakur is quickly delivered from his material entanglements and attains the service of Nityananda Prabhu and Gauranga Prabhu's lotus feet. Therefore Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami describes him as the best of the maha-bhagavatas and Vrindavan Das Thakur writes in the Chaitanya Bhagavata: " Uddharan Datta is a great and magnanimous Vaishnava, who has a title to the service of Nityananda Prabhu."

    From a superficial point of view, Uddharan Datta worked as the manager of a big zamindar (Nairaja) of Naihati, about one and a half miles north of Katwa. The relics of this wealthy family are still visible not far from the Dain Hat station. The village where Uddharan Datta Tahkur lived while acting as the manager of the estate was named Uddharanpur.

    Though he possessed a vast fortune, Uddharan Datta renounced all sense gratifications, dedicating his sense activities to the service of Nityananda Prabhu. Being controlled by the love of his devotee, Nityananda enjoyed the foodstuffs that Uddharan had cooked.

    bhaktera dravya prabhu kari kari khaya
    abhaktera dravya-pane ulati na caya

    "The Lord grabs the offerings given him by his devotee. That which is given him by a non-devotee is of no interest to him."

    Saptagram stands on the banks of the Saraswati River. At Uddharan Datta's Sripat, one can still see the six-armed figure of Mahaprabhu that he personally worshipped. On the right side of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a deity of Sri Nityananda. On another altar are the figures of Radha Govinda and a Shalagram Shila, and below the throne is a picture of Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur. After Uddharan Datta disappeared, Jahnava Devi made an auspicious visit to his home.

    Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami writes in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that his brother did not have as much faith in Nityananda Prabhu as he had in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This was the cause of an argument between his brother and Nityananda's follower Minaketana Rama Das. Krishna Das took Rama Das' side in this argument and rebuked his brother. Nityananda Prabhu was pleased with Krishna Das for having supported his devotee, even though this was a fairly ordinary qualification. Nityananda gave Krishna Das a vision of himself, the right to live in Vrindavana and service to the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna. The conclusion is that if we worship Uddharan Datta Thakur, serve him and try to please him, we will quickly be able to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, through which we will become eligible to attain love for Krishna and thus perfect our lives. In order to attract people to Uddharan Datta's Sripat it is necessary to make repairs to the buildings on the site. Through this, people will become aware of his glories and will seek his mercy and become blessed. If one makes an effort to serve the devotee, then he will give the commensurate power to serve.

    In front of the Saptagram temple, a large hall has been constructed, in front of which is a shady, cool terrace covered by a madhavi creeper.

    Srinivas Datta Thakur was Uddharan Datta's only son. Their descendants have spread into many branches and today live in Calcutta, Hooghly and many other places. Those who have taken birth in this family are doubtlessly very fortunate individuals. We pray that they abandon the superficial illusory family connection and establish their transcendental relation with him."

    Uddharan Datta Thakur left this world in the Shaka year 1463 (1552), on the Krsna trayodasi of the month of Paush.

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